About Chicken Eggs


(a) Doesn't the egg shell help protect an egg from bacteria?
 Yes and no. The structure and composition of an egg provides many natural barriers to prevent passage of bacteria into the egg and discourage growth inside the egg. These natural protective barriers include the shell, the shell and yolk membranes, and layers of the white. The structure of the shell and shell membranes prevent bacteria from entering the egg. Both the shell membranes and white contain lysozyme, a substance that helps prevent contamination by physically damaging the bacteria. The layers of white also discourage bacterial growth because they are alkaline, bind nutrients bacteria need, and contain nutrients in a form that bacteria cannot use. The thick white discourages the movement of bacteria towards the yolk, which contains nutrients bacteria need. The last layer of white is composed of thick ropey strands, called chalazae, which holds the yolk centered in the egg where it receives the maximum protection from bacteria by all the other layers.

Color of Egg-Shell:
Breed and genetics determine the color of the hen’s egg. The part of the oviduct called the Isthmus is where the membranes of the inner shell are deposited, for some select breeds like Araucana this is where the color of the egg shell is first deposited. Calcification of the shell takes place in the uterus and at this time and for most breeds of chicken the color of the shell is acquired in the uterus just prior to being released to the vagina and released through the vent.

(b) SHELL:  The color comes from pigments in the outer layer of the shell and may range in various breeds from white to deep brown. The breed of hen determines the color of the shell. Breeds with white feathers and ear lobes lay white eggs; breeds with red feathers and ear lobes lay brown eggs. White eggs are most in demand among American buyers. In some parts of the country, however, particularly in New England, brown shells are preferred. The Rhode Island Red, New Hampshire and Plymouth Rock are breeds that lay brown eggs. Since brown-egg layers are slightly larger birds and require more food, brown eggs are usually more expensive than white.

(f) Fact: The color of the egg-shell, does not determine the nutritional quality of the egg.

WHITE:  Egg albumen in raw eggs is opalescent and does not appear white until it is beaten or cooked. A yellow or greenish cast in raw white may indicate the presence of riboflavin. Cloudiness of the raw white is due to the presence of carbon dioxide which has not had time to escape through the shell and thus indicates a very fresh egg. On very rare occasions, a hard-cooked egg white may darken to a caramel shade due to a high amount of iron in the cooking water or to a carbonylamine-type reaction. Using fresh eggs and cooling them quickly after cooking helps to prevent this darkening.

The color egg a hen will lay can be determined by her earlobes.
Yes, chickens do have earlobes! Although you cannot see their ears (they are covered with feathers), a chicken’s lobes are very prominent—they stick out from underneath the feathers and sit behind their eyes, on either sides of their head. The most fascinating aspect of the lobes is not that they have them, but that the color of a chicken’s ear lobes will determine what color their eggshell will have—a chicken with white earlobes will produce white shells, and a chicken with red earlobes will produce brown shells. There are a few exceptions: the Dorking breed of chicken has red earlobes but produces white-shelled eggs, and the Aracuana breed from Chile has red earlobes but produces green-shelled eggs. Yes, green!

(f) FACT: COLOR:  Egg shell and yolk color may vary but color has nothing to do with egg quality, flavor, nutritive value, cooking characteristics or shell thickness.

(c) EGG YOLK:  Yolk color depends on the diet of the INDIVIDUAL hen. If she gets plenty of yellow-orange plant pigments known as xanthophylls, they will be deposited in the yolk.

1.       Hens fed commercial mashes containing yellow corn and alfalfa meal lay eggs with medium yellow yolks, while those eating wheat or barley yield lighter-colored yolks. (f) Hens that forage, and have access to a variety of foods (blueberries, wild berries, insects, nuts, mulch, etc.) will lay eggs with medium , yellow yolks. Hens that forage on light colored foods, such as maggots, flies, small flower seeds etc. will lay lighter, more pale egg yolks. Egg yolk color is simply a pigment, from foods previously eaten. 

   A colorless diet, such as white cornmeal, produces almost colorless yolks. Natural yellow-orange substances such as marigold petals may be added to light-colored feeds to enhance yolk color. Artificial color additives are not permitted. Gold or lemon-colored yolks are preferred by most buyers in this country.

2.       (f) Small farmers, caught up in the fads or demands of customers believing that the color of the egg-yolk determines egg quality or nutrient value, sometimes feel the pressure of  adding specific color enhancing ingredients to unnaturally force the darker color of the egg yolk, in an effort to sell their eggs for a higher price.  This is called “psychological marketing”.

3.       Free Range (foraged) hens, eating a diet comprised of insects, bugs, plants, fruit, vegetables, etc. will produce egg yolks of different shades, from dark orange, to a pale yellow. This is due to the natural pecking order, and the fact that hens have INDIVIDUAL taste preferences, such as people do.  

(d) NOTE: Sometimes there is a greenish ring around hard-cooked egg yolks. It is the result of sulfur and iron compounds in the egg reacting at the surface of the yolk. It may occur when eggs are overcooked or when there is a high amount of iron in the cooking water. Although the color may be a bit unappealing, the eggs are still wholesome and nutritious and their flavor is unaffected. Greenish yolks can best be avoided by using the proper cooking time and temperature and by rapidly cooling the cooked eggs.

Occasionally several concentric green rings may be seen in hard cooked egg yolks. A yolk develops within the hen in rings. Iron in the lien's feed or water as the rings are formed may cause this coloring.
Sometimes a large batch of scrambled eggs may turn green. Although not pretty, the color change is harmless. It is due to a chemical change brought on by heat and occurs when eggs are cooked at too high a temperature, held for too long or both. Using stainless steel equipment and low cooking temperature, cooking in small batches and serving as soon as possible after cooking will help to prevent this. If it is necessary to hold scrambled eggs for a short time before serving, it helps to avoid direct heat. Place a pan of hot water between the pan of eggs and the heat source.

FACT: The color of the egg yolk, does not determine the quality of nutritional value of the egg.

What is a double yolk egg? How are they formed?
 A double yolk occurs in an egg when a chicken releases two yolks into the same shell. Double yolks are usually produced by young chickens. Their reproductive systems have not fully matured, and they periodically release two yolks instead of one. Double yolks can also come from older chickens nearing the end of their egg producing period. These eggs are perfectly safe to eat, and are said to bring good luck when you find them.

Are store-eggs pasteurized or exposed to radiation?  Can shell eggs be pasteurized or irradiated to destroy Salmonella?
 Yes, pasteurized in-shell eggs are available in the U.S. Shell eggs have been approved for irradiation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Are egg products pasteurized?
 All egg products are required by law to be pasteurized. Approximately one third of all eggs produced in the U.S. today are broken and further processed to make egg products that are sold as retail or food service items or ingredients for commercial food manufacturers. These may be whole egg, egg whites, or egg yolks, and may be liquid, frozen or dried. The safety of egg products is regulated by the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service.

Do egg producers inject their hens with hormones?
 No, Artificial growth hormones are never fed to egg-laying hens in the U.S. Commercial laying hens are feed a diet made up of mostly corn, soybean meal, vitamins and minerals. 

NOTE:  that soy (and arguably flax, depending on how concentrated it is) is one of the most potent phyto-estrogen by far. 

The U.S. Department of Food and Agriculture and the F.D.A. do not recognize soy, and flax as an artificial hormone. Egg producers can use flax and soy, without being in violation of adding hormones.

WARNING: Eggs from hens, fed a diet comprised from flax, fish meal or soy, should never be considered safe, for human consumption.  If you are a raw-foodie, you should never eat eggs, from hens that have been fed the above diet. (Cyanide/Mercury/Added-Hormones).

(e) What is a phytoestrogen?
 Phytoestrogens are a class of chemicals that resemble estrogen, but are not identical to estrogen.  The whole category is called xeno (= false) estrogens.  And then as a subclass come then phytoestrogens.  Phyto means plant.   Estrogen means estrogen.  Phytoestrogens are plant estrogens

FACT: Some cancers are breast and other estrogen-dependent cancers!

Is there any chance the eggs I could buy at the grocery store could be fertilized?
 Hens that produce eggs commercially never encounter a rooster during their life cycle, so there is no way an egg carton you purchase at the grocery store could contain an egg with an embryo.

1.       No corn
2.       No soy
3.       No wheat
4.       No flax
5.       No fish meal
6.       Hens forage w/roosters, and eggs should be considered fertile
7.       No radiation
        No G.M.O's
8.       Color variety/size variety/
9.       Eggs from HERITAGE – BREEDS
10.   100% Free-Range & 100% Foraged
       100% Grain-Free!
       100% Gluten-Free!

References Resources and good reading:

1 comment:

  1. Does your hens have access to dead flies and maggots?


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